I've written about sales and marketing messages frequently in the past but I've never explained how selecting the best Point of View (PoV) makes sales and marketing messages more memorable... and thus more effective at driving sales.

To best explain how PoV works in sales and marketing messages, I need to explain how PoV works in movies, television and fiction. It's not an exact parallel, but it illustrates the concept by tying it to something familiar.

Imagine a scene in a movie where one guy throws a football at the head of another guy. There are several ways the director and cinematographer can show this:

  1. Victim PoV: The camera shows the football growing larger as it approaches, until it finally fills the screen.
  2. Perpetrator PoV: The camera shows the football growing smaller until it hits the victim.
  3. Spectator PoV: From a distance, the camera shows one person throwing the football, tracks the football through the air until it hits the victim.
  4. Narrator PoV: A voice says something like: "Once upon a time, a man threw a football at another man."

As you can see, the further the PoV gets from the action, the less emotion the scene conveys. The Victim PoV (#1) is both vivid and memorable. By contrast, the Narrator PoV strips all the emotion away, transforming the entire action into a bloodless abstraction.

In exactly the same way, shifting the PoV of a sales message away from the customer makes it less emotional and therefore less memorable:

  1. Customer PoV: "I use 'A' to do 'B'."
  2. Product PoV: "Product 'A' does 'B'."
  3. Engineering PoV: "Product 'A' was designed to do 'B'."
  4. Marketing PoV: "Product 'A' is a 'B' Enablement Platform. "
  5. Corporate PoV: "Company 'Z' designed product 'A' to be a 'B' Enablement Platform."

Note that he further we get from the customer's PoV, the weaker the message gets.

To illustrate this point, here three real-life sales messages from the popular collaboration tool Slack:

  1. Customer PoV: "Fewer meetings, less internal email, all your tools integrated. That's Slack."
  2. Product PoV: "Slack unifies your entire team's communications, making your workflow, well, flow a lot better."
  3. Marketing PoV: "Slack is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services."  

Again, these are real-life sales messages. Message #1 is what displays as a result of a Google search on Slack, Message #2 is from Slack's home page.  Message #3 is the first line of Slack's Wikipedia page. 

It's obvious (to me, at least!) that the customer PoV communicates the most emotion and is therefore the most memorable. By contrast, the product's PoV seems abstract and not nearly as memorable, while the final message is bloodless and utterly forgettable.

So, now that you understand PoV, take a look at your own marketing message. Does it tell a vivid story from the customer's PoV? Or does it weaken the story with a PoV that pushes your customers out of the picture?

Published on: Feb 3, 2018
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